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Census data reveals hottest suburbs attracting Chinese buyers


Written by Stefan Kostarelis

Hottest suburbs for Chinese buyers (By Area)

North – Brompton, Medindie, North Adelaide

East – Beaumont, Burnside, Marryatville, Burnside, Tusmore, Rostrevor

South – Urrbrae, Kurralta Park, Lower Mitcham

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West – Glenleg, Thebarton, West Hindmarsh

Last month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics began the staggered release of data from the 2016 Census.

The data already released covers a wide range of topics such as geographical and demographic data and information on housing. More data is scheduled to be released in October, which will include detailed employment and qualifications data.

One of the key findings from the June results was that Australia has reached a tipping point of diversity, as almost half of all Australians were either born overseas or have a parent who was born overseas.

Although England is still the dominant source of expatriates, the 1.3 million new migrants that have arrived in the past five years have been predominantly Chinese (191,000) or Indian (163,000).

With all the talk of Chinese investment in real estate, the places that Chinese are choosing to live should be of special interest to those in the industry.

In May, I wrote an article looking at how using ABS’s QuickStats feature would be a good way to dig into Census data.

In that article, I noted that in 2011 China was the third most common country of origin (3.8%) in my suburb (Mile End). I also predicted this number would go up and it did (up .2% to 4%), but perhaps not as much as I thought.

Using the Census data from 2011 and 2016 and a confidentially acquired heatmap data of Chinese buyers in Adelaide, I decided to continue my investigation.

First, I selected the CBD and 38 suburbs either present on the heatmap or within close proximity to the city center. They were as follows:

Centre: Adelaide CBD

North: Bowden, Brompton, Collinswood, Medindie, North Adelaide, Prospect,

East: Beaumont, Beulah Park, Burnside, Glenunga, Glenside, Hectorville,

Kent Town, Norwood/St Peters/ Payneham, Kensington, Klemzig, Marryatville, Rostrevor, Toorak Gardens, Tusmore

South: Clarence Gardens, Edwardstown, Goodwood, Kingswood, Kurralta Park, Mitcham, Lower Mitcham, South Plympton, Springfield, Unley, Unley Park, Urrbrae

West: Cowandilla, Glenelg, Glenelg North, Mile End, Thebarton, West Hindmarsh

Next came the fun part. By going through the Quickstats for each suburb and comparing the data from 2011 and 2016, I was able to build up a picture of the suburbs that showed an increase or decrease in Chinese residents.

Taken as a whole, the greater Adelaide region has a population of almost 1.3 million.

According to the 2016 Census, 1.8% of that population (almost 24,000) identify their country of origin as China (excluding Taiwan and Special Administrative regions such as Hong Kong). That’s a marked increase from 2011, when the population was closer to 1.2 million and the number of Chinese was around 15,000 (1.3%).

Starting with the CBD, the results suggest there has been no meaningful change. In fact, the number of Chinese residents has decreased slightly (>300) while remaining at 13.1% of CBD population.

Moving on, it looks like the east is the top choice for Chinese in Adelaide with four of the six hottest suburbs being in this region.

They are Beaumont (Chinese are now 7% of the suburb, up 5.8% on 2011), Burnside (now 7.8%, up 5.2%), Marryatville (now 7.4%, up 5.2%) and Glenside (now 10%, up 4.6%). One notable outlier is Klemzig, which suffered the worst decrease (Chinese are now 6% of the suburb, down 2.5% on 2011) I came across. Tusmore also saw a solid increase (now 3.3%, up 2.2%) and looking farther east, Rostrevor (now 5.3%, up 2.2%) saw solid growth.

In the south, things are almost level with mostly less than 1 percent increases. One notable exception is Urrbrae, which increased 5.3%. Both Kurralta Park (now 7.9%, up 1.6) and Lower Mitcham (now 2.4%, up 1.8) showed solid growth. There are also signs that things are cooling off in the south, with decreases in both Unley Park (now 1.2%, down .2%) and Goodwood (now 2.6%, down .4%).

The data suggests that things are warming up in the west. The number of Chinese living in Glenelg, Thebarton, West Hindmarsh all increased by more than 1 percent in the past five years (up 1.2%, 1.4% and 1.9% respectively). One exception is Cowandilla, which has cooled down considerably (now 2.2%, down 1.6%).

Finally, in the north Brompton is hot (now 6.8%, up 3.5%), with Medindie (now 3%, up 1.5%) and North Adelaide (now 3.3%, up 1.2%) both heating up.

Here, once again is the top 6:

  1. Beaumont (up 5.8%)
  2. Urrbrae (up 5.3%)
  3. Burnside (up 5.2%)
  4. Marryatville (up 5.2%)
  5. Glenside (up 4.6%)
  6. Brompton (up 3.5%)

Only 4 of the 38 suburbs I looked at showed a decrease. They were:

  1. Klemzig (down 2.5%)
  2. Cowandilla (down 1.6%)
  3. Goodwood (down .4%)
  4. Unley Park (down .2%)

Ben Clarence of the agent services firm TianChan, a startup assisting South Australian real estate agents connect with the Chinese property buyer market, says that there are some strong indicators that Adelaide has grabbed the attention of Chinese buyers both foreign and domestic.

“TianChan has been measuring some of the trends of both local and foreign buyers for some time now, and in metropolitan Adelaide the Chinese population has exploded with over 52,000 South Australian residents who identified Chinese as their ancestry based on their parents country of birth.”

Clarence says that Chinese immigration has been strong, and the incoming residents are predominantly looking for luxury homes in blue-chip suburbs. But this is coming at a surprise cost to the real estate industry.

“The Chinese population of Burnside alone has increased by 312% with an additional 3,475 Chinese residents moving in, while the average metropolitan suburb saw an average Chinese population growth of 85%. And with these residents predominantly speaking Mandarin at home, agents are clamouring to employ or seek Mandarin speaking staff at a huge cost to their business.”